Rise of women in endurance riding

Updated 8:22 AM ET, Thu January 31, 2013
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Young women riders are bursting to prominence on the international endurance riding scene, and undergo special training in the UAE. CNN
They are trained at a stables owned by Sheikh Hamdan, the brother of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed. CNN
Fatima Al-Marri and Mariam Mothana are among the top female endurance riders in the United Arab Emirates. CNN
Endurance horse racing is a test of rider and horse across often stark and forbidding terrain over distances up to 160 kilometers. Awad/AFP/Getty
As well as being world champion, Sheikh Mohammed (second right) has won many races on home soil and has a showpiece endurance event named after him -- the Al Maktoum Cup. Awad/AFP/Getty
Sheikh Mohammed is married to Princess Haya of Jordan, the president of the World Equestrian Federation, and both have driven the growth of endurance horse racing. Salah Malkawi/Getty Images
Princess Haya congratulates Virgine Atger, a member of the winning French team at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in Germany in 2006. Christof Koepsel/Boengarts/Getty Images)
Spain's Maria Alvarez Ponton has won two world and two European titles with her 18-year-old Arabian stallion Nobby. CNN
Ponton's husband Jaume Punti-Dachs trains Intissar, who was the mount of Sheikh Mohammed when he won the 2012 World Endurance Championship in Britain. CNN